A "titan." A "true pioneer." Those were just a few ways poultry industry executives rememberedDon Tyson , upon hearing of the death yesterday (Jan. 6, 2011) of Tyson Foods' former chairman and CEO.

"Don Tyson will be remembered as a true pioneer in our industry, a leader who possessed great vision and passion for excellence," said Bill Lovette, president and CEO atPilgrim's Pride Corp ., Greeley, Colo.  "His significant contributions have played a key role in our industry's growth and development over the years and helped position chicken as a leading protein."

TheNational Chicken Council(NCC), Washington, D.C., represents companies who produce more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

"Don Tyson was a titan of the modern chicken industry. From the beginning of his leadership of his company, he saw the future of the industry and worked to make his vision a reality," said NCC. "He was a pioneer in moving beyond commodity chicken to value-added products and in the development of new products and international markets. Don Tyson was a key figure in transforming the industry into the powerhouse it is today. Not only his family and his company have suffered a loss, but the entire industry as well."

NCC said it named Don Tyson as a "Pioneer of the Industry" in 2004 to recognize his lifetime achievements.